Genesis 48:8 – Exodus 3:15 Anyone who has watched The Godfather will understand Joseph’s brothers’ fear after Jacob’s death: now what will Joseph do? And the ensuing conversation witnesses to Joseph’s seeking to understand his own story: “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good” (50:20; cf. the rather different statement in 45:8). And with “Am I in the place of God?” (50:19) we circle back to the beginning of the human story: the first couple grasped at being like God (Gen 3), and fratricide followed (Gen 4); Joseph owns the difference, and there is reconciliation.
The Exodus readings cover a great deal of ground. Among the many things to notice, whose names are remembered, and whose not (including Pharaoh’s, which complicates historians’ work!). And Exodus 1:15-22 provides necessary context for interpreting Romans 13:1-7.
1 Corinthians 10:14-13:13 Understandably, 1 Corinthians 13 is often read in situations in which we’re celebrating love. What’s worth noticing here is that Paul focuses on love in a situation in which it’s way down the hearers’ list of priorities, way below exercising authority, deeds of power, miraculous healings, speaking in tongues, etc. (and we can add our own measures of success to this list). Is there any part of 1 Corinthians 1-12 that this chapter doesn’t bring into sharper focus?
Mark 7:24-9:29 Mark records twice a voice from heaven, at Jesus’ baptism (“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” 1:11) and at the Transfiguration (“This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 9:7). Readers see the latter as part of a major shift, introduced perhaps by Jesus’ “But who do you say that I am?” (8:29) The answer turns out to be the easy part; the hard part: what ‘Messiah’ means, both for Jesus and his followers. Not bad reading for Lent.